I’m slightly surprised that I haven’t written a post dedicated to my mother’s maternal grandparents here yet. Why am I surprised? Partly because my great-grandmother, Edith, was the oldest person I ever knew as a child. Or at least that I remember knowing.
She also had the most amazing puff of white hair that I’d ever seen.
But who was she, and what about her husband, Joe, who died two years before I was born?
When you’re researching Australian family, there’s always the spectre of transportation, much like Massachusetts in the late 17th century. Back in 2007 it was reported that up to 22% of living Australians were descended from convicts (over 4 million people). There is also a one in 30 chance for us Brits.
I remember studying the topic of transportation when I was at primary school (er, about 30 years ago), but I thought that I could do with a bit of a refresher course – and its amazing to find what records are out there for individuals, alongside the social and political history that goes along with it.
And spoiler alert: I feel some degree of sympathy for our William …
One of my long-standing genealogical projects is to create a one-name study of the surname Holborow (variously Holbrow, Holborrow, Holb(o)rough and many transcription errors such as Holbron …). My first step in this has been to document every Holborow event documented in Australia. Why Australia? I couldn’t tell you. Because it’s less than the UK and more than the US? Possibly.
I soon found, thanks to Ancestry and the various state archives (special shout out to Libraries Tasmania, but we’ll get there), National Archives of Australia and the brilliant Trove website with its digitisation of newspapers, that there were only a handful of primary progenitors of historic Holborows in Australia. There are a few outliers, a few arrivals who didn’t leave much of a trace, but plenty of stories to tell: we’ve got mayors, we’ve got murder, we’ve got mystery (and, yes, we’ve got a convict…).
Taking a look back at my recent posts, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I have a sudden yen for two-part posts. This isn’t entirely the truth, but as I’ve made corrections to my family tree, I’ve discovered other family that warrant a call out. Hence I am back again with more information on the new, extended Hicks family thanks to Charlotte Hicks.
Its longer coming than I originally hoped for – I’ve been busy working on (read: avoiding completely) the first year of my Masters in Creative Writing – but I thought that I should close off the Hicks family for now …
Lately I’ve been going over my old research and either adding to it, solving the odd mystery or just plain correcting mistakes. Some of those mistakes were mine to make, but some were inherited – although the onus is still on me (and all of us) to check the veracity of this borrowed information. One such mistake has been my focus this week, up in the Wiltshire / Gloucestershire borders.
There are many people and subjects that I could blog about within my own family or that of my husband. Long-standing mysteries, interesting stories that reflect the changing faces of our society, family members that are not connected in any way, shape or form with the Halliday family. So you’ll be pleased to note that this post is absolutely about the Halliday family and some new-found members – an entire branch of them!
My mother has very fond memories of her great-grandmother, Harriet Hurcombe (nee Robins), and they were very close. It was Harriet and her husband, Alfred William Hurcombe (grandson of the infamous Ann Halliday), who moved the family from Leighterton in Gloucestershire to the area around Devizes in Wiltshire in the late 1920s/early 1930s.
Early in my research I came across a puzzle in Harriet’s tree – and it remains only half solved!
A little over a year ago I shared the results of my Ancestry DNA test and how it laid to rest one of the family legends my mother had grown up with. As time has marched on and Ancestry gathered more and more participants (recently surpassing the 2 million mark), the amount of matches I was able to access grew and grew. The vast majority of these were in America – but without a full view of the American ancestry of each of my parents it wasn’t always possible to gain a sense of which side the matches were. Consequently, when an offer reducing the price of the costs to only £60 each (instead of the standard £80) came online a week or so before my parents were due to spend time back in the UK, I decided to take advantage of the coincidence and hopefully find some clarity on these results.
Despite being posted at the same time, my mother’s saliva sample arrived at the lab and was processed about a week ahead of my father’s … and today I received her results …
Way back in the mysterious depths of time (aka 2002) when I was still something of a newbie and early on in my family history journey (following a move from the UK to France where I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands…), I was in correspondence with a distant relative based in Queensland, Australia. Brian had spent many years compiling what he called The Halliday Heritage, a story of our combined family, which he very kindly shared with me. Sadly, I took what I immediately needed (yep, I admit to being a harvester of names back then …) and ignored the rest. Going over it again and giving this rich seam of information the attention it deserves has thrown up some interesting titbits …
Do you ever find a family line that has a mix of occupations – and you wonder how much the behaviour of one generation has affected the subsequent ones? I came across one such line recently.
A cousin of mine (7th cousin once removed but, hey, who’s counting?) recently shared a link to an online digital archive of American newspapers, as part of the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America collection. As I always do when faced with a ‘new’ searchable database, the first name I type in is ‘Holborow’. As its such a unique surname I’m always pretty sure that any results have a link back to my family – and I came across some fantastic articles in this archive.